This was my second time seeing the Psychedelic Furs.
The first time was a few years ago at the Crystal Ballroom. At that time the show sounded interesting, and like it would be a good show. They had several songs that we liked, but we hadn't really followed them. There were so much good popular music back then that you could kind of take it for granted. So we went, but it was kind of a casual thing without a lot of expectations, and the Furs totally won me over that night.
Much of that was focused on singer Richard Butler. He seemed so happy to see us, and it was infectious. The music had still held up, both as written and as performed, but also there was this shared delight between audience and singer. It was easy to want to see them again.
Seeing them once more is pretty similar. Richard Butler is still bouncing all over the stage, and you can't imagine he could even think of retiring as long as he is doing that. This time I was more aware of the rest of the band as well, and there was still that shared joy.
It was so clear that they all have a good time with each other, and enjoy playing together. If you look at the songs, I guess some of the themes can seem kind of depressing, but they feel like a very joyful band, and in the audience I smile just because they are happy.
Because of the easy rapport between them, we started wondering after the show how long this configuration had been together. Obviously Richard and his brother, bassist Tim Butler, had been the constant in every iteration of the band.
We were pretty sure that Amanda Kramer on keyboards was new. She has been with them since 2003. Not only was Rich Good on guitar not familiar, but we thought he looked really young, so he had to be new. Good has been with the band since 2006, though he is older than he looks.
We had to look up those dates, but we still agreed that they were relatively new. I felt like the drummer Paul Garisto and saxophonist Mars Williams had been around though, and that they might be original. That was the most interesting part of all. The internet says they have both been with the band since 1986. That is pretty far back, but the band has been around almost a decade longer than that, first coming together in 1977.
There is so much history, and so much music here. That was kind of amazing to reflect on. One of my earliest memories of MTV was an ad for the network that showed clips from both "Take On Me" by A-ha and "The Ghost In You" by Psychedelic Furs, and I remember so desperately needing to see those videos. (Frankly, it was a cruelly long time before I got to see them or even know what they were.) That should have been around 1985, but by that time some of my favorite Furs songs were already a few years old.
And yet the band is still energetic, and they still sound great, and they work together professionally and well. When you think about it, the most recent addition to the band has already been there 8 years; how many bands flame out within that time span?
It would be gratifying that the Psychedelic Furs are still around anyway, because they are a good band and they make me smile, but there is a lot that is impressive there too.